Someone once said that ‘expectations are planned disappointments.’ In other words, it’s best not to expect anything because surely you’ll be disappointed. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, said he preferred to be surprised by life so he never expressed any expectations. Can’t say that for me. I have expectations all the time, though not all of them are realized.

Recently, however, I learned that asking others, especially my husband and family members what their expectations are––of a day together, a vacation, a purchase for the house, a dinner party for friends, decorating a room or planting a garden––can do wonders for one’s relationships. Instead of feeling overlooked, ignored, hurt, and just plain ticked off, you and the other can talk over what you expect and hope for and then figure things out together.

For example, last week we invited one of my husband’s friends for dinner. I asked Charles how he’d like it to be.

Eating outdoors if the warm weather held  (it did).

Serving tomato bisque soup for a starter (I did).

Sharing a bottle of blood orange soda (we did).

When it was my turn to share my expectations I listed the following:

Roasted chicken (from the supermarket) for the entree (we agreed).

Sauteed zucchini, red pepper, sliced onions, and brown rice (a compromise since my husband does not like veggies).

Fresh berries topped with plain yogurt and a dollop of maple syrup for dessert instead of a cake or pie (a compromise since I no longer bake or eat such).

We shopped together. Charles set the table outside. We served together. I cleaned up the kitchen.

Ah! Expectations. So easy to meet or compromise when they are expressed. I think we’re onto something after 30+ years of marriage.

How about you? Do you talk over expectations with your loved ones?










Expectations — 10 Comments

  1. I love this article. I try not to have expectations, unless I share them with my hubby as in”This is how I see this day going…how about you?” It works because we want to make each other happy most of the time. :-). I love it that you write from seniors’ perspective. Jerri

    • Thanks so much, Jerri. I love knowing you and your husband check with each other as my husband and I now do–about almost everything. It brings us such joy and harmony–a lovely state of mind especially as we grow older.

  2. Enjoyed this one! I was so fortunate to have a great second marriage. We seemed to always want to please each other and we “expected” to have a great time wherever we went and we both loved having a lot of companyand expected everyone to have a good time, and they did! We learn a lot in our first marriages. I think we really did expect to always work together and expect to enjoy each other as long as the good Lord would allow! We were so blest!

    • I agree with you, Margaret. Charles and I learned a lot from our first marriages too, and have worked diligently in this, our second one, to be a blessing to one another, even when there are differences of opinion.

  3. Wonderful advice! Keeps the lines of communication open, and we understand each other better. BTW, do you have a recipe gor tomato bisque soup? We had some last fall on our vacation camping trip to Maine. Delicious!

    • Oops, Michele. The secret is now out. I served ‘canned’ tomato bisque soup, but I’m sure you can get a recipe online. But I will say Progresso Low Sodium soups are quite good.

  4. Wow, Karen, this is an awesome art of communication, asking openly for each other’s expectations, then work together toward the mutual goal. What a wonderful advice. It’s another important learning for me. I’m esp. weak in this department of communication for expectations – I’d just assume and then expect what was in my own head to be a reality. Bad. Part of of it is cultural , and part of it is just me. Never worked! thanks for the good lesson. Also, Loved your clean, right-to-the-point writing style with vivid details and examples.

  5. In terms of the eating department, I always left that to the wife. ANYTHING she makes is great and it didn’t matter to me. When we were the hub, it pretty much depended on the get together if we discussed what and where and how come. At most of our family get togethers, it was mostly cooking and just sitting around yacking. Unless we ate at some restaurant. That didn’t happen much. But now that mom and dad, grandma and grandpa are old and grey (US) LOL, the mantle has been passed to the youngins. They do all the planning and menus. It is there expectations when mom and dad are called upon to bring something to eat. (By the way, your menu sounded great!!!) 🙂

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